Local pianist opens for Dalai Lama



Hazel Dell — How do you warm up a crowd that came to hear the Dalai Lama? Melinda Dishaw of Hazel Dell went for light classical melodies and spiritual Beatles tunes like “Here Comes the Sun,” “The Long and Winding Road” and “Imagine.” Dishaw, 52, a lifelong pianist and proprietor of downtown school Music With Miss Mindi, played onstage for about half an hour before the Buddhist holy man spoke at the University of Portland on May 9, and for a total of about 90 minutes before, during a lunch break, and after the Dalai Lama spoke at the Memorial Coliseum on May 11. “I’ve played in front of hundreds of people but it was my first time playing in front of thousands,” said Dishaw. “It was awesome.” While security was very tight, Dishaw said, she did get a smile and a bow from the worldwide leader of Tibetan Buddhism.